Via reader Glenn L., Club Carlson has drastically cut the rate at which points transfer to airline miles — overnight, without any notice whatsoever.
Previously, points transferred to miles at a rate of:
- 2000 points -> 250 miles
- 50,000 points -> 8000 miles
- 100,000 points -> 18,000 miles
Now the same 100,000 points transfer to just 10,000 miles. The new ratio is a consistent 10-to-1.
Significant changes to the value of points without notice is, I think, the worst thing a program can do.
Members earn points with an eye towards redemption. They spend money in good faith based on an articulation of benefits. Having the deal changed after they’ve spent that money, without any chance to redeem under the rules in place at the time they did so, is a true breach of trust.
Strictly speaking these programs say in their terms and conditions that they can do it. But the programs that don’t — the programs that give members fair notice, and an opportunity to exercise the benefits under the terms that points were earned — are the ones that deserve our business.
Those that make changes without notice will do so again, and again, and again. They aren’t to be trusted, and points should only be accumulated at your own peril.
In fact there is a long history of the program’s predecessor behaving in this manner. This isn’t the first time the hotel loyalty program associated with Radisson has reduced its mileage transfer rate, overnight.
The old Radisson Goldpoints program used to convert points to miles at 4-to-1. Then In May 2002 for most members) it became 8-to-1, with not chance for folks saving up points to redeem at the rate they had been accumulating and making plans under.
Ironically, the new 10-to-1 ratio is the same one that Goldpoints offered to TGI Fridays members when converting their points to miles. One could say that Club Carlson now seems to value its points like appetizers?